Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­bara@po­lice sta­tion

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Your Say -

OH, what a stupid fuss about Dis­ney films.

You will re­mem­ber in the story of Snow White, our hero­ine is in a death­less slum­ber be­fore be­ing wo­ken by a kiss from, nat­u­rally ... a prince.

It’s a fairy­tale – not an in­struc­tion book on fem­i­nism. Not ev­ery­thing has to be brought in line with the cur­rent oh-so-bossy dogma. My way or no way.

This story, which has fas­ci­nated chil­dren for decades, is meant to be a love story, not a case of pos­si­ble sex­ual as­sault.

Be­liev­ing there is only one way to think, and the past must be changed to fit in with the present, is ab­surd at best and dan­ger­ous at worst.

To make the present a safer, hap­pier, place for chil­dren, I sug­gest that, rather than culling fairy­tales that most of us seem to have sur­vived, we ra­tion their diet of vi­o­lent films and video games which I think have done un­told harm to a gen­er­a­tion.

And be­fore you point out that the old Grimms’ fairy­tales were lit­tered with hor­ror and vi­o­lence, I think we should be wary of un­der­es­ti­mat­ing chil­dren’s un­der­stand­ing of fic­tion.

Chil­dren know the dif­fer­ence be­tween witches hold­ing chil­dren pris­oner in a gin­ger­bread house and the sto­ries that are too-near re­al­ity – mass killings seen on TV news re­pro­duced for them as en­ter­tain­ment.

This is not shrink­ing from re­al­ity. As a tot, I was up­set by the sad part of Dis­ney’s Bambi – but it was also a beau­ti­ful film, sen­si­tive, not bru­tal. It taught me gen­tly about loss.

Books and films can be an es­cape, but life isn’t all sweet and chil­dren even­tu­ally be­come aware that – never mind the present – his­tory is lit­tered with hor­rors. They don’t need to be shielded from it for­ever. Nor do they need it rammed down their throats.

Once by Mor­ris Gleitz­man, which I read to a class of Year 7 pupils last week, is a won­der­ful story of re­silience, loy­alty and friend­ship, set against a back­ground of the Holo­caust.

But back to fairy­tales. Ro­man­tic tales aren’t harm­ful – most lit­tle girls don’t go look­ing for a prince (although I found mine ob­vi­ously, Mr F re­minds me, look­ing over my shoul­der as I write.)

If I’m ever comatose, I’ll be quite happy to be wo­ken by a pass­ing prince. If it’s a sud­den col­lapse rather than a long-term swoon, the kiss of life from a para­medic (male or fe­male) would be hand­ier ob­vi­ously.

More im­por­tantly, if it’s a long sleep, Mr F has strict in­struc­tions to get my hair­dresser, Amy, to reg­u­larly touch up my roots.

Dis­ney mat­ter – is there too much fuss about fairy­tales?

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